Riley Ann’s birth story

Monday 12/16 was like any other day; we went to my Moms house to hang out & do laundry. We came home, made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and then I was in bed by 8. I didn’t do anything strenuous and I had no inkling that labor was only a few hours away.

I’m not sure if it was a contraction that woke me up, or if I woke up and then had a contraction. Either way, I woke up at 12:30 and had a pretty good contraction. It wasn’t overwhelming – but it was different than the braxton hicks I had been experiencing for the last several weeks.

I tried to go back to sleep but I could not get comfortable; I continued to have contractions every 7-9 minutes (I never actually timed them, but this is my guesstimate and what I told my Midwife when I called her). I was having to pee every couple of minutes it seemed, and I was also have lots of bowel movements; which I had read or maybe I had heard on a podcast that having bowel movements in early labor is totally normal. It’s just one of the ways your body is preparing for labor. On my last pee trip to the bathroom there was some blood when I wiped (mucous plug maybe?). I literally laughed out loud and said, “Oh. yep. This is the real deal.” Until this point I was still unsure whether or not this was real labor.

By now it was 1:45am – I woke Chris up and told him what was happening. He agreed that I needed to call Rebecca (my midwife) and let her know what was happening. She lives about an hour away from the birth center so we needed to give her plenty of notice. Chris was not in a hot hurry to deliver another baby by himself at home (poor guy is slightly traumatized from Aubrey’s birth.)

He also text his brother to let him know what was going on. Paisley & Aubrey were going to be going over to Jeremy & Amy’s house while Chris & I were at the birth center. Initially we were planning on taking them over to their house, but my contractions were started to get a little stronger and I didn’t think I could ride that far in the car. Honestly it’s only 5.5 miles one way, but it was just to much for me to handle then. We opted to have Jeremy come and pick them up, and honestly it worked out for the best.

As soon as Jeremy picked the girls up Chris & I headed for the birth center which was a whopping 2.3 miles away. We strategically picked the campground & birth center based on their proximity from each other – Again, this proved to be a wise choice.  I had one contraction in the truck, one as soon as we pulled into the parking lot & another one as soon as we walked into what would be our birthing room. They were definitely getting stronger & closer together. Every 2-3 min, I think.

As soon as we got into our room Rebecca had me lay on the bed so that she could check my vitals and check Riley’s heart rate. This was just about the extent of any monitoring that was done. I did ask if she needed to do a cervix check and she said “No, this is your 3rd kid. You are in labor. We are good.”  After that was done she said we were free to roam about the cabin. LOL, kidding. She didn’t say that – but she did say that we were free to wander around because no one else was there. FYI: It was 3am.

Rebecca asked if I wanted her to start the tub? I said I would wait a little bit longer to see how things went.

I think I had maybe 1 more contractions before they really started to ramp up in intensity. I wasn’t feeling pressure but I wasn’t able to do anything other than breath and moan through the contraction. My preferred stance was leaned over the bed while swaying my hips. I went to find Rebecca and asked if we could get the tub started.

She said “yep. I heard you in there.” I’m going to break from the story here to tell you how much I LOVE Midwifery care. It is like no other care. Every single visit was like visiting family. I wasn’t just a patient number or a dollar amount.

It all starts to get a little fuzzy now – Rebecca go the tub going. At some point I got in. As I was getting in the tub Rebecca told me that I could absolutely deliver in the water but that I couldn’t bob Riley’s head up and down once her head was out. I would have to keep her head underwater. (I’m here to tell ya that this sounds much easier than it actually is!) (The reason for this, i think, is that as long as she stayed underwater she was still “breathing” through the umbilical cord – but once she came out of the water she would take a breath and obviously she couldn’t go back under the water.)

 Rebecca checked Riley’s heart rate and commented that my sacrum wasn’t opened up yet so we weren’t quite there yet. She also said something like it could be an hour or it could be 20 minutes. (click link to see what I mean about the sacrum. be warned, maybe not safe for work.) The very next contraction was crazy. I felt a ton of pressure and I could feel that I was going to need to push very soon. Rebecca said, “Oh, it could be 20 minutes then.”

Each contraction after that one was intense. I tried to remember to breath through them and to stay relaxed, which was quite difficult. I also tried not to scream. Later, after Riley was born, I commented to Chris that I tried not to scream. He laughed and said I was pretty loud.

I really have no idea how many contractions or how long it took to get Riley out. I know that part of her head was out (OMG THE BURN) and Rebecca asked if I wanted to feel. I said yes & started to reach for her, but then said no – Rebecca encouraged me to feel her head.  THAT WAS WILD.

I also had to change positions from kneeling to laying on my side. I can’t remember why; maybe to help keep her head underwater. I feel like it took FOR-EV-ER to get her head all the way out. THE BURN. Lord have mercy, the burn.

and then the sweet sweet relief when she was finally all the way out. WHEW. We did it again! Riley Ann was born in the water on 12/17/2019 at 3:47am -A mere 45 minutes after we arrived at the birth center. Phew!

Just like with Aubrey, we did a delayed cord clamping. We let the cord stay attached until it had completely stopped pulsing. Per Rebecca, this is typically when the placenta has detached and is ready to be delivered. I hated this part with Aubrey & it was equally as awful with Riley.

After that was all over with I was able to get out of the tub and into bed. A BED. Not an icky hospital bed, A REAL BED! I loved being able to get into my own bed after Aubrey was born – but a nice cozy bed at a birth center was great too.

I realize this is getting lengthy – but I’m going to write it all out for the sake of my memory….. 
The one thing that we didn’t have, that we needed, was food. I did manage to throw some snacks and drinks into a bag before we left but I hadn’t planned on what I would actually eat after she was born. I knew I needed a meal, but I never made one. I was planning on making some kind of quiche and then just heating it up at the birth center, but I never go around to making one. SO, when the time came that I needed to eat I had a banana & a kids chobani yogurt squeeze thing. That was enough so that I could take some ibuprofen.
Because we were staying so close to the birth center Chris was able to run home and make us some breakfast. So he went home, cooked up some egg sandwiches and came back to the birth center. Best egg sandwich EVER.

When he got back the Midwives (Rebecca & her student, Mary) got to work taking all of Riley’s measurements. So by this time i think it was probably close to 530 or 6. So we were able to just chill and cuddle for several hours before they did anything with Riley. Again, Midwifery care is THEE BEST. 
As with Aubrey, I didn’t think Riley looked big enough to be 9lbs, but lo and behold, she was. 9lbs on the dot! Again, blew my mind! I guess I need to see an actual tiny baby to realize how big 9lbs actually is. 

Eventually everyone cleared out and Chris & I were left to relax. We had the option to leave at the 4hr mark, but we opted to stay and relax there for a little while. Chris had to leave again and go get our car from his brothers house since that’s where Riley’s car seat was. We ended up leaving the birth center around 9:30am – just 6.5 hrs after we arrived.

I went

I went to church today.

I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a church that wasn’t for a funeral.

I could write out a list of reasons. All invalid excuses.

Is there really a valid excuse?

Illness, hospitalization, your own death. that’s probably it.

most Sunday’s I never even considered going to church.

chris asked me if I wanted to get out of the house (alone) for a while. at first, I wasn’t going to go. there are 10,000 things that need to be done around here – so I was just going to stay home.

then I remembered that my original plan for today was to go to church, as a family.  no one was anywhere near ready to go, and I didn’t have the energy to try and round them up and out the door in 15 minutes. so I got myself ready and left.

I felt like this was my chance. A chance to get my foot in the door with no resistance from anyone.

I went.

I liked it.

I’m planning on going again next Sunday.

 

distraction

I try to do a devotional every morning before the kids wake up. I would say I’m successful about 5-6 days a week. I alternate between the First5 App & Proverbs 31 Ministries blog. They are run by the same people & always have great messages.

This mornings message from the Proverbs 31 Ministry was about distraction, which is something I absolutely struggle with. I’ve recently deleted the FB app off my phone – but then I would find myself reloading it/deleting it a few times a day.

28276771_10155273171266961_6209752935311205540_n.png

I was still active on Instagram – I like IG. It’s generally more positive & less drama… but then I realized that I was starting to pay to much attention to the “stats” or “insights” of my posts. “How many people liked” “How many people were reached” “How many people swiped away from my instastory.”

Totally meaningless stuff.  Why do I even care??? I don’t get paid. I have a small following, which was another thing I was getting caught up. “OH! Someone followed me.” “Oh, someone unfollowed me.” and that would be followed by “Hm, I wonder what I did to offend them or make them unfollow me?”

WHO CARES?

 

b65888df219e68822c9effc58e45680d

I recently closed my social media based Lularoe boutique – for many reasons, but primarily because I didn’t have time & I wanted to be more focused on my family.

Then I immediately replace LLR with IG obsession.

So the message this morning brought me back to reality and I’m feeling a lot of conviction when it comes to social media.

It is hard enough to be a parent without the constant onslaught of “advice” that is pouring out of every social media orifice. I see these posts about why I should stop getting frustrated with my kids & cherish all their temper tantrums because one day they won’t have temper tantrums – and I just want to scream, WHO IS WRITING THIS CRAP???

It’s just prettied up version of Mom-shaming. I can’t even read those “essay’s” anymore. All I feel is extreme guilt & frustration. I start to feel like there is something wrong with me. WHY do I get so aggravated at my kids? Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to see a Dr? Is there something wrong with me? I’m already on lexapro, maybe I need a stronger dose, or something different. It becomes a landslide of emotions – all from one post about how I should love my kids temper tantrum.

Yeah. No thanks.

Of course I can choose not to read it. But i swear 15 moms in my feed are sharing this post – which just makes me feel even worse.

I don’t know what social media will look like for me moving forward. I’ll still be here, writing. I think i’ll be on instagram – i changed my account from business back to personal so I no longer get insights on my feed.

But FB, I think I can live w/o facebook…. I still have messenger because that’s how I communicate with a couple of my friends.

 

Have you given up social media for any length of time?

 

xoxo

jena

All i want is a big milky latte

Hello!  I’m feeling inspired to write this morning, so I’m going to try to write out some coherent thoughts on Whole30.

Aubrey is in bed, so let’s all shoot up a prayer that she stays there for at least the next 2 hours – that would be AWESOME!

7663777ce450ea3ddd62eae70791281c

I started Whole30 on Monday. Today is day 4. I’m reallllly wishing I could have a big nasty milky latte. Oh so yummy! I would settle for a frothy coconut oil latte, but sadly my little blender thingy bit the dust last year and I haven’t replaced it. I have the big ninja, but it doesn’t quite have the same frothiness, plus, the ninja is cracked, and I’m not sure it can handle a hot substance… Hmmmm, maybe I SHOULD use it … ::evil laugh::

Day 1 sucked. Let’s just be honest, shall we. We planned a trip to Bok Tower so I packed all our food. The food part was fine. What sucked was the massive headache I had. I don’t know if it was the heat or ?????  Whole30 has a “timeline” for suckiness, and there is a day in the first week (usually day 2) where you feel hungover. I felt that way on Day 1.

I SORT OF feel like it was the heat getting to me – but I have NEVER had that kind of reaction being in the heat and I’ve lived in this heat box state (Florida) my entire life. I was drinking a lot of water, so I don’t think it was dehydration. It wasn’t THAT hot… I don’t know what the deal was, but it wasn’t fun.

Day 2 & 3 were somewhat better. Although, I did text one of my besties to ask her if being possessed by satan was a symptom of Whole30 because I was having a bit of a rough morning; and, indeed, it is. It hits around Day 4 – it seems my “symptoms” are rolling in a bit early.

124b5f3b5a24e3656203d959b104104f

Day 3 I’m starting to realize how much mindless snacking I do. A bite of this, a bite of that – handful of cheerios. A few pieces of cubed cheese. Taste test the tortellini (a few times). All which seems harmless, but all those snacks add up, clearly since I’m still 15lbs above pre-Aubrey weight. Also, I love sweets. Ugh. I’m constantly craving something sweet. I’m also a night-time snacker. Lord, I love me some snacks.

I’m pretty much convinced that the creators of Whole30 did not have toddlers when they created this. IF THEY HAD, they would have figured out HOW to make wine fit… amiright???

e3f595ce0b824f6af49773dcacd474ca

That brings us to today…  I’m fine. It’s fine. This is alllllll going to be fine. By the way, I made a coconut oil / nut pod latte, and it was DELISH.  I brewed Santa’s White Christmas coffee in my …. uhhh, what is that thing called..  Oh, french press (legit had to google “coffee brewer” to figure that out).

Poured coffee in mug, added a heap of coconut oil then some french vanilla nut pod creamer. Poured that into my ninja & ninja’d it on high for a minute or so. DELISH. No picture bc it’s in my belly!

Now I just need to work on adding in some exercise … baby steps, people, baby steps.

Preparing for Aubrey

I think I’ve almost set a record between my Grandmother, Mom, Aunt & my Sister…. for being pregnant the longest. Not really a record I want to set, but here I am, none-the-less. Still going strong at 39wks 2 days.. I realize I haven’t even made it to my “due date” yet, but no one thought I was even going to make it this long.

Every day is a challenging head game of wait & see; please note: I am REALLY NOT GOOD at these type of games that test my patients and have no end date. Sure, there is an end date, BUT WHAT IS IT???

So since I’m still pregnant, I decided that maybe I actually do have time to make a few freezer meals. I had kind of been putting this off because the task itself seemed really daunting. Planning & preparing multiple meals at one time!? I can barely cook dinner without a meltdown from a certain toddler I know – How was I ever going to spend hours in the kitchen? I had a few weekends where I planned to do it, but then I just never did it.

2016-12-18-15-51-33

So Sunday afternoon I pulled out my Make it Freeze it cookbook and flipped through it until I had a few recipes. Then I went on Pinterest and found a few recipes for meals that weren’t in the book but that I wanted to make.

I wrote out my grocery list, and then text my Mom to see if she could come watch Paisley for a few hours on Monday so that I could knock out these freezer meals. I’m not a dummy, there is absolutely no way Paisley would tolerate me standing in the kitchen for hours on end. Naps are so hit & miss these days that I couldn’t really count on that either. Grandma to the rescue!

15540892_10209420673367227_3180124572217476215_o

15577899_10209420675727286_9110571610914870032_oOkay, back to my freezer meal plan.. but Paisley is so cute, right? She had a blast taking pictures with Grandma! Lot’s of twirling & singing was involved.

I planned out 6 meals, and each meal would have 4-6 servings;

Upstate Minestrone (from the Make it Freeze it cookbook)
Rustic Italian Tortellini soup (MIFI cookbook)
Zesty Hamburger soup (MIFI cookbook)
Baked Spaghetti (MIFI cookbook)
Chicken Pot pie (pinterest)
Shepherds Pie (pinterest)

2016-12-20-04-06-37

Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup: 

Prep: 20 min  / Cook: 20 min
Makes 6 servings (2 quarts)

3/4lb Italian Turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz ea) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 c water
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (9oz) cheese tortellini
1 pkg (6oz) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 tsp minced fresh basil or 3/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Crumble the sausage into a dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, water & tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted and tortellini are tender. Serve with cheese if desired.

FREEZE OPTION:

Place individual portions of cooled soup in freezer containers and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth if necessary.

 

Let’s wrap this up, shall we? I’ll post the other two recipes tomorrow!

 

Jena

When you just feel inadequate

“Mommy, play with me.” She says as she grabs my hand and tries with all her might to pull me away from the stove.

It’s time to get dinner started, Paisley is bored and wants me to play with her. I have to start dinner. It’s not going to cook itself. I need to wash the dishes in the sink. I need to finish charting from today’s patient load. I need to put away the clothes from this past weekend. I need to hang the clothes that have been laying in a basket for a few days.

She pulls my hand again and asks me to play with her again. “I can’t,” I tell her, again.

My heart breaks. I feel like crying. My child wants my attention, and I can’t or won’t give it to her because so many other things also need my attention.

This scenario happens all too often around here. It’s been happening more & more frequently as she grows older and is less entertained by her current toys. Her attention span is short; it’s not her fault. She’s not even 3 yet.

Am I doing her a disservice by keeping her home with me? Am I teaching her enough? Is she getting enough engagement? We don’t play with friends nearly as often as we should.

We can’t. I don’t have time. I don’t know that many people here.

Should we send her to school? We can’t afford it. Maybe I should get a regular job that pays more, No, not an option. I don’t want her to go to school yet. I want to stay home with her.

My house is a disaster. I’ll never be able to stay on top of it because I can’t even get ahead of it.

These are all my thoughts; the things that make me feel inadequate. I’m not a good enough Mom. I’m not a good enough employee. I’m not a good enough housekeeper. I’m not a good enough Coach. I’m not a good enough friend.

I honestly never realized how many of these, “I’m not good enough” thoughts I had in my head until just now.

It is hard to feel like you’re good enough when you feel like you’re drowning in the simple day to day life.

They say the days are long & the years are short. I know that’s true, but in the middle of a shit storm, everything feels neverending.

Today is a new day. All I can do is my very best.

On wanting to do more

 

Oh writing how I’ve missed you. I’ve been longing to write again, but I’ve been kind of hesitant, again.

What do I even write about? My life is not really all that exciting. I’m a work from home Mom who struggles to balance everything that comes with being a work at home Mom. That is not super exciting or even the least bit glamorous. I’m struggling with finding my place in life – one of my closest friends said this to me today (I wrote it down because it was so true & I didn’t want to forget it) She said, “you’ve struggled with finding your place in this grown-up life.” I think that’s 100% accurate. I absolutely have.

I think it became more prevalent when Paisley as born. I really can’t remember what life was like before she was born – what did I even struggle with? Nothing that I can remember. Life was pretty simple. Chris worked a lot, traveled a lot. I spent a lot of time with my friends, who were also kid less. I went to the beach a lot, ran a lot, worked out a lot, and went to work in a regular office 35-40 hours a week. A seemingly normal life.

I do remember wanting to do more for people. I remember encountering my first breast cancer patient & her story just broke my heart in a way that it had never been broken before. I began to see healthcare in a way that I had never seen it before. Despite being in health care for 6 years at this point – I was just seeing the side where the uninsured truly struggled to get adequate healthcare. You’re probably rolling your eyes and wondering how I managed to go 20 something years on this earth without realizing this – but to be honest, I’ve had health insurance for as long as I can remember; and it’s not something I’ve ever worried about or had really encountered up until this point.

I remember wanting to do something more for this patient – wanting to help her find resources that could help her get treatments she needed, and other services that you need when you’re a breast cancer survivor. She was not the only cancer patient I watched struggle with treatments & doctors because of the lack of insurance. It was these encounters that made me realize that I wanted to do something more with my life – that I really was compassionate about helping others – but I’ve never known HOW I could do that. What is my platform? How can I reach a large amount of people, and then when I reach them, what am I going to say?

It’s hard to distinguish if I’m being called by God to write, or if it’s just something that I want to do. So, I’m going to write as I can, and about what I want until I’m told, or feel otherwise.87fc4ac3a6620019dde7418d1d2ca415

Something to say

I haven’t written lately because I haven’t felt like I had anything of any real value to say; so instead of just rambling on here & sharing my life, I’ve said nothing. But if I say nothing, what is the point of this blog?

A friend messaged me on fb earlier this week and her message made me realize that just because I don’t feel like I have nothing of value to share doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t find value in what I have to say.

I love that you share so much of yourself on FB bc sometimes I read something & just think “yes!”

Her message was so important to me – It’s important because I use my facebook has an outlet & a way to reach other Women & other Mom’s. Being a Mom is one of the hardest things I have ever done, and sometimes it can be so isolating.

It’s like this is this unwritten rule that Moms can’t have bad days, and if we do, we surely shouldn’t talk about it because by God we are so blessed to have these little monsters that wreak havoc on our lives 24 hours a day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so blessed to have Paisley, and I wouldn’t trade her. I wouldn’t go back and change anything about the last 2.5 years, but being a Mom is hard. No matter if you work in a regular job, if you’re a work from home mom, or if you’re a stay at home Mom. At the end of the day, we are all responsible for raising these tiny terrors that have taken over our lives.

1d31a60c5822d998e8abd7422381b036

so maybe I don’t have something profound to say, but I do always have something to say.

 

Until next time,

Jena

Changing my focus

 

“The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.”

This quote from Lysa TerKeurst makes me think back to conversations I’ve had over the past few months with a few friends. I talk to these friends every day, and the conversation is basically always the same. I’m mostly complaining about this, that or the other.

I look back, and I’m exhausted & embarrassed by the amount of complaining I’ve done over the last few months. How do these friends even tolerate talking to me? Honestly, how? I’m annoying myself by how much I complain. Good grief.

When I realized this, I started to make a conscious effort to stop complaining. I would like to say that I’m complaint free, but I’m not. I’m human, but I am making an honest attempt at watching what comes out of my mouth.

The truth is, I really don’t have much to complain about. Chris has a steady job. Sure, he works 7 days a week, and that really stinks, but he has a job. I have a great job. I get to work from home & keep Paisley home with me. It’s stressful at times, and I often don’t have enough hours in the day, but I am home raising my daughter, and that’s the important thing to me.

mind feasts

To change what I’m talking about, I have to change what I’m focusing on. I’ve been diving into reading personal development books; books that are relevant to where I’m at in my life, and what I want to accomplish. I’m not just reading random books that someone else says I should read because it will help my business.

I’m reading faith based book because that’s where I’m feeling called to go. I need peace in my life, and I can’t create my own peace. I create more chaos, not peace. Jesus is the peacemaker, and I need to reconnect with him. I’m stepping back from things/people that aren’t giving me joy and moving towards things/people that will.

Life is short. It’s to short to be running around unhappy & empty.

My life goals are to be successful & happy. I don’t know what that success looks like, but I do know that being miserable to get there isn’t how I’m going to live. I’m changing what I’m focusing on so that my mind doesn’t feast on the wrong things.

A few of my favorites from this past week

I used to love to read blogs…. when I had more free time. After Paisley was born I found myself with less time to read & less time to write. When I did find time to read, I found myself annoyed by the blogs that I had once loved, so I stopped reading them altogether.

In my most recent attempt to figure out who I am & where I’m going, I’ve rediscovered my love for blogs. I’ve exchanged my love for health & fitness blogs for blogs of women who have written books, and who write about the hardships & joys of motherhood. Those are the women I relate to at this point in my life. Of course I still love health & fitness, I am a fitness coach, after all. I love working out, and eating healthy, but that isn’t an area I struggle with. I struggle with being the kind of Mom I want to be.

Today I wanted to share a few posts that I’ve enjoyed over the past week:

The Important thing about Yelling from the Hands Free Mama Blog
Free 10 day prayer journal from Lysa TerKeurst
This RV renovation is gorgeous! One of our 5 year goals is to sell our house & live in an RV.
This post on having a Misery Attitude or a  Mastery Attitude (I struggle with a misery attitude sometimes)

This verse, “Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.” Philippians 2:4 says

This quote from Lysa TerKeurst book, Uninvited: Living Loved When you feel less than, Left out, and Lonely….
Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.”